Baby Proofing Your House
Anticipating the arrival of a new family member can be an overwhelming time, especially for first-time parents. The list of things to buy and get done before the baby arrives can seem never-ending. The imperative task of baby-proofing your house is no exception. While this is something you most definitely should do, it’s easy to get caught up in the terrifying “what if” scenarios that no parent wants to think about. This, plus being bombarded by every new ‘must-have’ safety gadget on the market, and we now have a recipe for overwhelm.
Fortunately, we’re here to take the daunting aspect away from baby-proofing. News alert: it is possible to take a relaxed approach to this task. One key thing to remember is that baby-proofing is more about your specific child than anything else. You can’t predict all the dangers until you know what your child wants to get into!
First things first, breathe. There you go. Now a little deeper. Your little one is going to be just fine!
Now that you’re in a good headspace, we can begin. It’s also helpful to set some intentions before diving headfirst into this project. Do you want to take a minimalistic approach? If so, that’s great. Or maybe you wouldn’t mind investing in a bunch of different items to give you peace of mind. If so, that’s great too. Just remember, different areas of your house will be dangerous at different stages of your baby’s life. And don’t forget, they are just that – stages. Certain items might not be worth the storage space if only needed for a few months, for only one child.
See the big picture.
In order to baby-proof efficiently, it’s good to start by getting on your baby’s level. Grab a pen and paper, get on your hands and knees and do a sweep of your house. Make a note of possible hazards, and count other hazards you’re already aware of. For example, this is a perfect time to count how many exposed outlets you want to buy covers for, how many floor-level cabinets you have which you need to go through, and any other possible dangers you come up with. Don’t forget to check the stability of your furniture from down there, too. For example, a narrow console table could eventually become something your child tries to grab onto. Knowing you need to anchor it to the wall before your baby is mobile could prevent a future injury.
Start where they will sleep.
Whether the plan is for your baby to sleep in their crib in your room or in their own nursery, start here. While your baby is an infant, this will be the area they spend a lot of their time in, and if you are lucky enough to get some sleep, they could end up unsupervised. Prioritize choking and strangling hazards, along with checking doors and windows. Remove any reachable cords and install child-safe cords if needed. Secure any heavy furniture to the wall and keep the crib away from windows. You never know when a baby will start to reach and explore!
Put away any toys, blankets, and any other suffocation hazards. Remember, an empty crib is a safe crib. If you notice lids or hinges that may pinch fingers, these pinch guards could be helpful. Don’t forget about the outlet covers here! Just make sure the ones you buy won’t also be a choking hazard.
Move onto the kitchen.
While the kitchen may feel like the ultimate danger zone, keep in mind it should be some time until your baby finds themselves mobile and unsupervised here. Still, a few fundamental things need to be done before the baby arrives to ensure the most dangerous items are out of reach.
Store all cleaning supplies, medications, supplements, and chemicals out of reach, but better yet, store them in a cabinet with an effective child lock. As for the rest of your floor-level cabinets? It’s your choice if you decide on child-proofing them all. For some parents, safety locks become a pain to open and sometimes don’t even work, making them infuriating to have. Instead, rearrange the bottom cabinets to hold baby-safe pots, pans, and other items. Check where you keep your knives and make sure you never leave them out on the counter. Put away all dangerous appliances and stash the cords.
You might not ever be able to make the kitchen 100% safe, but as your child grows and starts to explore, get down on their level and explain to them what is off-limits.
Check out the living room.
Another space that baby is bound to be spending a lot of time, do a sweep here just like you did in the nursery. Next, check for sharp edges on coffee and side tables, and install corner guards to anticipate a wobbly toddler. Then, check your fireplace and install a hearth guard if necessary. ‘Anti-tip straps’ may help secure your TV or other items, and of course, identify all the exposed outlets!
Investigate the bathrooms.
You may want a lockable, off-limits cabinet for medicines, soaps, electrical gadgets, and other dangers, like razors. These baby proof latches would do the trick and could also be used on the toilet if your baby becomes fascinated by water. You may want to consider some non-slip mats for bathtime, especially when your baby starts to stand on their own. As for hot water, you’re welcome to buy a fancy water thermometer, but alternatively, you can just set your water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and always test it out yourself before your little one gets in.
There is no one size fits all solution for baby-proofing. Each family, house, and even infant is unique and will require different modifications. Take the same tactics discussed here and continue your sweep if you have additional rooms. Do you have an outdoor area? If so, the most essential thing to check for is open water. If you have a pool or a hot tub, make sure they either remain covered, or you install baby gates or fences roughly four feet from the water’s edge.
As you can see, baby-proofing is a big task, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember, as your kiddo grows, more baby-proofing will be necessary. It’s an ongoing process that requires you to be observant and sometimes a little creative. In the meantime, as your baby goes from floor to knees and then to feet, enjoy the milestones!
If you enjoyed this post on baby proofing your house, check out our post, Five Signs to Teach Your Baby! If you’re still pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, check out our post on What Vitamins to Take During Pregnancy.